Running Around Turtleback Mountain

30 mile run around Turtle Mountain. I believe I am the first person to run the entire distance.

Earlier this week I accomplished my goal of circumnavigating Turtleback Mountain on foot. The trip was a total of thirty miles and took me just under six hours to run. It is bittersweet to complete this task. I immediately registered for a 100k race (62 miles) in Arizona this Valentines Day. Wendy has signed up for a 50k section of the race (31 miles).  I'm also planning on incorporating new routes around Turtle Mountain as part of my regular trail runs. I appreciate all the positive support from our local community. Special thanks to Kyle & Jeannie for riding around on their fat tire bikes the same day and helping me plan the route.

30 mile run around Turtle Mountain. I believe I am the first person to run the entire distance.

Turtle Mountain 30 Mile loop map


The Common Sense Died in Phoenix

In 2001 I drove 11,000 miles of American road in my Honda hoping to learn something about myself and this world. City after city I saw what is now commonplace, the commodification of culture and place, a homogenization process that left Boston, Boulder and Houston looking remarkably alike.

Last week I popped into the Phoenix Scottsdale area and experienced the maturation of this process, an entire city built after the invention of the strip mall. Few things existed outside of one. The city boundary marks the start of a world that requires unusual behavior and odd senses, acculturated knowledge with no root in wisdom. Not nature made it requires knowledge that is learned, mimicked, taught, and never intuited as it contains no life. the man made city sprawl is entirely dependent on humanity: landscapers, builders of all variety, cashiers, cops, accountants, hairdressers etc., ad infinitum, busy themselves to support the prop.

Luckily I was staying with lovely people, good friends who showed me some gems, things to enjoy while in the maze like the campus swimming pool. We enjoyed a lovely hike on a little mountain that touched the city's edge. But for my sensitive consciousness this city was tough to bear. I experienced genuine shock every day, like when I found a store in a mall called Its Sugar. The sign may as well have read "Get Cancer Here." I found a shop that proudly boasted it's sole purpose, to develop your image. You can be a brand.

So why is all this a problem? Live and let live, right? Simple. When we hitch ourselves to what is not real we miss the real and even destroy it along with ourselves. What is real is what is living. You can notice the real because it needs no prop to hold it up like the mall with its hundreds of workers making sure the lights go on, the water drains, and the gas heaters ignite. The cost for the prop, be it mall-sized or city-scale, is life itself. Built out of the real, made from what had been self generating until we threw it out of balance by way of our pillaging, the prop is flimsy. It can't support us. We support it. It has a nature of depletion and a rhythm of pillaging. The real has a nature of nourishment and a rhythm of savoring. Hint hint. Once lost in the artificial, common sense wilts and goes away and people do strange things. For example, when the prop causes harm: cancer, diabetes, depression and the like, rather than change the prop, we make pills to help ourselves adapt to it, a behavior that indicates that the common sense is gone.

Remarkably this entire stunt is also the prison of it's inhabitants who work their lives away to hold it up even though the prop does not belong to them. It belongs to 1% of the population who hardly participate in it. The workers return the money they earn working for the prop by buying the goods they need from the prop, things that had been free in their natural form, before they were contorted into products at the cost of life.

What to do? As I type this I know that Dubai is working on the largest air conditioned mall in the world and China is gearing up to produce even more smog so that every household can have its share of cheap consumer goods. But still there is something to do. We can reconnect to what is real and connect back to common sense. It is our only guide, the only sense that can map a way out, our tap root. Separate from life we are marooned and we will die. We're dying now. Connected to life and we are the recipients of all of life's knowledge, bounty, and support. We thrive. There is still time to choose, maybe.

It is time for radical measures. Quit the job that asks you to compromise what you know to be right. Better yet, refuse to work at all. Take your life back and give your time finding an authentic way to contribute to something that is a match for your view of this world. Say no to what sucks and say it loud. There is so much that sucks! See where radical decisions lead you. You don't know where you'll end up if you've never tried them out. You may be surprised. Trust something larger than the mall. Trust life. Do whatever it takes. What you need to do is probably something no one has done yet as few things that have been done have worked. The scale of the next important change will be individual as well as large. Prepare to stand by what you do. Support everyone who seems to be doing the same. Find them. Find your common ground. Find your common sense. Oh yeah and have fun. Purpose certainly beats working in a cubicle.


Maker Pro: Essays on Making a Living as a Maker - Pre Order

It seems a logical follow up to having written The Good Life Lab that I should contribute to two books this year. Interestingly one of them is about wisdom and the other about quitting traditional employment to become a full time maker of things. These tho topics may seem different on the surface, but to me they're very much related. The book about wisdom is a multi-touch ebook titled The Seven Pillars: Journey Towards Widsom, it is participatory in the way that The Artist's Way was.

Today I'm excited to announce a second book that I contributed to titled, Maker Pro: Essays on Making a Living as a Maker, edited by John Baichtal and published by Maker Media.  This fun and inspiring book features essays by more than a dozen prominent and up-and-coming professional makers (see below list). Each essay includes advice and stories on topics such as starting a kit-making business, taking a hardware project open-source, and plenty of encouragement to "quit your day job." This book is a reference for anyone who dreams of turning a hobby into a small business, and features stories from well-known professional makers; it will turn aspiration into inspiration. Maker Pro is available for preorder so pop over to Amazon and put it in your wish list.

What's inside. . .
1. Wendy Tremayne, "The Art of Unemployment"
2. Adam Wolf interviews Emile Petrone
3. Joe Meno, "I'm not a Maker, I'm a Builder"
4. Jimmy DiResta, "Making It"
5. Michael Krumpus, "The Power of Constraints"
6. Susan Solarz, "Have Maker Spaces Made the Traditional Artist Studio Obsolete?"
7. Rob Klingberg, "Pick Your Maker Sherpas"
8. Alex Dyba, "Evolve with the Maker Scene"
9. Adam Wolf, "Hacking Brick & Mortar"
10. Mike Hord interviews Zach Smith
11. Mitch Altman, "Make a Living Doing What You Love"
12. Eri Gentry & Tito Jankowski, "Hacking Biology"
13. John Baichtal interviews Chris Wang
14. David Gauntlett, "Making Things is Even More Vital Than You Think"
15. Andrew Huang, "Soylent Supply Chain"
16. Sophi Kravitz, "Quit Your Day Job"


Sufi Retreat in Monticello NM Led by Wendy - One Spot Left!!

"the one whose desire is not fulfilled did not know how to desire." - Hazrat Inayat Khan

Once each year I lead a group of less than a dozen people on a special three day retreat that is modeled in the tradition of Sufism. This year's retreat will be held in the picturesque village of Monticello, NM (population 25) on the OHM lavender farm. The land is sprawling and vast inviting walks in pristine nature and quiet moments in exceptionally beautiful settings from patios to nooks that peek out onto fields of lavender. 

Why retreat? In the Sufi view all knowledge can be obtained from within. Because our acculturated life is not in the rhythm of the soul, retreat uses the practices of contemplation, meditation and silence to point to something living within us. The reward for going within is understanding, the discovery of inner wisdom and peace. 

This desert retreat is an opportunity to charge a promise, make a wish, let go of something, ask a deep question, usher in the new, make ready for change, and process what has been. 

If this speaks to your soul send me an email, there is exactly one spot left! 
If your on Facebook, the details can be found here. Here's the short of it... 

Sufi Silent Retreat Led By Wendy Jehanara Tremayne
January 30, 31, Feb 1
Monticello, New Mexico
$150 retreat fee plus housing $30 per night 
Each retretant is responsible for their own food, each casita has a wonderful kitchen! 


Illuminated Manuscript - A New Project "Journey Toward Wisdom"

I am excited to be a part of a new publishing project that is inspired by the revolutionary illuminated manuscripts of the 5th and 6th centuries. It was created with new technology, a “multi-touch” eBook that combines not only text and image, but also original music, narration, video, and graphic animation. The title is The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Widsom. It is meant to awaken thought and action through contemplative exercises that take you on an immersive journey to discover authentic wisdom.

Contributors include myself, Sousan Abadian, Christopher Bamford, Mary Catherine Bateson, Robin Becker, Rabbi Olivier BenHaim, Orland Bishop, Ruth Broyde-Sharone, Adam Bucko, Cecil Collins, Apela Colorado, Paul Devereux, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Lee Irwin, Kane Mathis, Dena Merriam, Deepa Patel, Yuval Ron, David Spangler, Bisan Toron.

The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom eBook is available now on iTunes (book section) for download to computers and ipads. Through iTunes you can also have it sent as a gift for someone you love (next to download click drop down menu).

(image: sample page from The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom)



Question: What is a great holiday gift?

Hint Hint . . .

I'm sitting in a cafe in Durango right now. Minutes ago I was chatting with a girl at the table next to me, we just met. She was putting together a few things I revealed about myself like that I'm from T or C, NM and wrote a book last year. She looked at me curiously and asked, "Is your book The Good Life Lab?" "Yes!" I answered in surprise. She bought the book for her mom last year. Her mom loved it. I decided to read this as the universe's way of reminding me to remind you, that The Good Life Lab is a great holiday gift.

Get it on Amazon
Get it from the Holy Scrap Store

Durango - Animas Mountain

This was our first hike on Durango's Animas Mountain.


Close Up Shop

Close Up Shop

We have had a few surprise freezes this week. This big one hits on Sunday night when we will drop into the teens. I've been covering our raised beds with plastic and cotton sheets. The hot crops below have been okay, but any tomatoes sticking out felt the freezer burn. Tonight is expected to have a low of 19F with windchill. As long as our kale, beets, green onion and chard keep producing I'm happy.

Beard Beer

Beard Beer Appropriate beer for Movember. This guys beard was used as the yeast culture to make the beer. Nicely done, Rogue.


I'll Be Coming Around the Mountain

Thanks to some outdoor friends I've finally seen the light on how to run around our local Turtleback Mountain. Earlier this week I had been exploring a short cut, but the terrain made it less than desirable. Now I see that by adding two miles I should be able to run around the Turtle which is about a marathon length (~26 miles). I'm psyched about the new route because the elevation is a little easier, there are two water sources and exclusively trails and jeep roads. It will probably take five hours to complete due to the elevation. This Sunday or Monday I'll make an attempt for it probably with a friend or two.

We have a Running Club

We found some trail runners to share our mountain with. Last week we did a full moon run together and this week we did a eight mile run up Sidewinder. We will continue to do weekly runs across the Rio Grande. I'm looking forward to seeing others on the trails as we share our favorite routes. Updates available on the "Run from TorC" Facebook Page.

Crackers: Dehydrated Juice Pulp with Kimchi Juice

Sounds delicious, right? What could be more tasty then carrot and sweet potato pulp combined with kimchi juice remains. These crackers came out amazing! A new book from Storey Publishing called "Fermented Vegetables" turned us onto the idea of adding our leftover ferment juice to the pulp from our juicer to make crackers with a kick.

Fondue Party

We had a 70's themed fondue party for Wendy's birthday last week. After scrubbing cheese and caramel off of the pots for two days I can see why people abandoned this form of cooking. What a mess, but it was a blast.

A New Sewer Connection

Last weeks productivity was lost to an emergency repair on our sewer line. After lots of digging and pipe replacement we have a good connection to the city sewer. The plumber we worked with and the city were both awesome at expediting the new line.

Finally Performance Art

When people say of a place, "it is an art town," I wonder what they mean. They say it of Truth or Consequences all the time, and they mean that we have painters, a couple of mixed media artists, a metal artist or two. What is always missing (for me) is performance art. I know, if I'm going to say this than I should do something about it. I should perform art. I'm no stranger to conceptual street art.  There are a couple of pieces I've considered producing. But today I'm celebrating not complaining.  Last Saturday night Katie Renault appeared in front of Nerd Night, a now annual show by T or C's youngest posse of artists that include media's such as textiles, paint, illustration and now performance art! Katie's piece featured a orbital glow'y martian like costume she wore while positioned on a platform that featured text that contextualized her vision of aliens as they relate to the Virgin Galactic Spaceport. And yes she stood as still as stone for half the night. Yay Katie.


This Week's Winner Sonja and Jessica

I announced in a previous post that each week I'll be giving prizes to folks who by ordering a copy of The Good Life Lab are entered into a drawing. Sonja ordered two copies even though she'd read the book already. She'll be gifting one to her daughter. She wrote,

Thank you for writing this book. I've read it once as a e-book, and it was resonated so deeply with my beliefs and values that I want to have a hard copy, and share one with my daughter. You have captured in words what I have felt for 30 years. 

I never tire of these sentiments! Sonja's prize is foam core board mounted illustration of Everything That I Love Is Free, from The Good Life Lab. Here's a pic of her and her daughter. They're both beautiful don't ya think? 


We Won Best Costume

At the local Alyce in Wonderland holiday party Wendy and I won best costume this year. Her Red Queen combined with my White Rabbit. Nobody recognized her.


The Circumference of Forever

The whole story can never be told, 
suffice it to say, the inside and outside coincide 
and we all come from the circumference of forever.  -Tomas Myers

Saturday – November 15, 2014 10am to 10pm 

A Day of Contemplative Practices in the Sufi Tradition: Dances of Universal Peace, Wazifah, Meditation, and Chant

Led by visiting teachers Tara Andrea, Maboud Swierkosz and local host Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

Location: Grapes Gallery, 407 Main St., Truth or Consequences, New Mexico 

10am-12:30pm  Morning Session
12:30pm-2:00pm Pot Luck Lunch or (lunch on your own) 
2:15pm-5:15pm Afternoon Session
5:30pm-7:00pm Pot Luck Dinner or (dinner on your own) 
7:15pm-9:15pm  Evening Zikr Program


Sliding Scale $50.00-$75.00 for the entire day/evening OR $20.00--$25.00 per session.

Beauty Health Net Blog Is Fired Up By The Good Life Lab

I was delighted to discover a review of The Good Life Lab today on the blog, Beauty Health Net.  The reviewer called the book, The under-the-wire living breathing manifestation of a new way of living informed by a politically savvy and socially aware generation fired up by the joy of creating. Click to read the rest. . .  (alternatively click here) 

Don't forget, The Good Life Lab is a great holiday gift! 


The Best Holiday Gifts Are Wishes

It is early to be reflecting on 2014, New Years Day is weeks ahead. But the smell of autumn triggers nostalgia. I remember how Mikey and I spent the past decade living by pledges that changed everything. We purchased land, built a home and learned to make, clothing, fuel, and community. We wrangled free of what bound us and put our trust in nature. Our prize for doing so was common sense, our portion of the wisdom inherent in all that lives. Then I gathered up every bit of what I learned and I put it in a book that I titled The Good Life Lab.

At our start in 2006 living gently on the earth was not yet trendy, neither was a decommodified lifestyle. After the 08’ stock market crash and new evidence that climate change was real, movements started up. Green trends followed. People gardened and learned who Monsanto is. But just a few years’ later and inspiration lilts. We are weary from the weight of the disaster that may be our fate. Greener products won’t save us. We return to shopping with a few better options like organics. 

Why weren’t we transformed? Where was the escape hatch to a world we are capable of imagining? While on my book tour I noticed that people see a clear image of a better world and they describe it similarly, a healthy and vibrant planet, an economic model that abolishes poverty and distributes resources to all, meaningful work, having enough to live, harmony between nations and people. I wonder about why this dream is so hard to get off the ground. 

While driving back from Albuquerque the other day I listened to a TED Talk about creativity. People like Sting were interviewed and so were scientists who were trying to pin down creativity by aiming MRI’s at the brains of improvisational musicians like Keith Jarrett. All agreed that creativity is the result of turning off the part of the brain located in the frontal cortex that identifies with self. It is the part that says things like, “what will people think?” or “what if I fail?” Sting said that creativity is the result of being willing to fall on your face in front of everyone. They know that willingness to fail is an act that requires trust in something unseen and belief that something not yet created may become because of you, through you.

Some people thought my book was philosophical. My publisher categorized it a memoir. They also called it gifty. When The Good Life Lab book won the Nautilus award it was for sustainability. The Los Angeles review of books compared me to Aldus Huxley and what I wrote to Walden. People find it in bookstores filed under building. On the surface my book teaches how to make bio diesel, clothing, building materials, power, and food. I share what I know about how to live out of the waste stream and find new income streams. The lessons and stories are structures for the telling of something more significant. The Good Life Lab is about making a promise. A sacred promise is different from promising to recycle, or reduce carbon emissions by riding a bike to work. A sacred promise involves trust in something that there may be no concrete evidence of, something that is perhaps imaginary. We did this when we chose an ideal and then lived by it. Then we listened, not with our brains but with our hearts. When wisdom came we trusted it even though it was not a match with the cultural milieu.

My book is written and I’m done touring to promote it. My homestead is less interesting to me than it was before I wrote it. Built and functioning it needs me less. My heart looks to wilder terrain in order to connect to nature, things like backpacking and trail running. I’m considering starting up a new non-profit project. Unlike the green movement that left people weary and reluctantly returning to unhealthy habits head hung low still gripping a lilted wish for a better world, Mikey and I continually grow in the direction of our original wish. Our energy is ever increasing. We are interested.  I believe that this is due to the wish we made. Hazrat Inayat Khan once said, “The one whose desire is not fulfilled did not know how to desire.” His son Pir Vilayat taught that wisdom arises from the interaction between inherent knowledge or truth and acquired knowledge from embodied experience (among other things). This is a match for my own experience, which tells me that the rationalists were wrong. Truth is sensory. Without human imagination and heart we cannot get to the world that we are capable of dreaming of because our ideas cannot take flight. When Mikey and I dreamed aloud (at risk of falling on our face) our promise (to preserve life) led to knowledge from within and without. I believe this is so because our wish was for life, of which we are a part. Once connected to life a living being may claim their dispensation of it, their common sense. Real wisdom, we soon discovered, is not subject change due to trend, and it does not tire under the weight of the world. It does not run out.

This post is long. I apologize. My aim was to share a secret. It is true that The Good Life Lab is a book about being a maker of things. It will show you how to decommodify your life at a time in which the whole world is for sale. But the heart of my book is about desire. Its real aim is to show you how to make a wish that will be fulfilled.

While I was on my book tour folks six or a dozen copies of The Good Life Lab as gifts for friends and relatives. My publisher was right the book is gifty. To encourage you to share The Good Life Lab with your loved ones this holiday season I’ve come up with ways to thank you by giving you gifts.

Each week leading up to New Years Day I will pull a name from a hat that contains the names of those who’ve placed an order that week. Winner chooses from the below prizes (until they run out).

One of four color illustrations from The Good Life Lab 11’X14” mounted on foam core board.
The Groping Woobie - a wearable spooning blanket from pg. 45 in the chapter Broken Heart Meets Giant Band Aid 64” X 80" handmade by Wendy.
Hangable paper prayer flags that read “holy scrap.”
Battery desulfator handmade by Mikey.
One of three Holy Scrap gift packs containing botanical medicines wildcrafted from medicinal plants of southwest handmade by Wendy. 

Ways To Enter (click drop down for three options) 

(one ship to address please, if you need items to ship to multiple addresses shipping will be added)

I’m happy to sign and personalize books and the illustrated art pieces. Just include a request with your order. Good luck, and thank you for your tremendous support.
May all of your wishes come true! – Wendy